Not Just for Laughs Ari Shapiro

The use of humor plays an integral role in both social and political life especially for politicians; the use of metaphors and satire during political campaigns have the power to sway and influence the voters’ perceptions of a political issue. Politicians who have mastered the art of humor have to a large extent been able to identify themselves with the natives on certain issues that are core to their common setup. Ari Shapiro has achieved to showcase how the Obama and Romney speechwriters have brought out the art of metaphor to outwit each other during their political campaigns. The analysis of the article will answer the question of whether people get informed about politics through humor and whether satire can influence certain political patterns. This paper seeks to delve into Ari Shapiro’s articleNot Just for Laughs while outlining the role metaphor can be utilized as a campaign tool in American politics.

In the age of instant, constant media, the use of humor is used to disarm an opponent, as well as woo a skeptical voter. The jokes by the two opponents serve as a way of entertaining the supporters before the talk weighs zeroing-in serious and weight matters, according to Ari Shapiro, it is quite evident that Obama always shows a self-deprecating sense of humor on the campaign trail. For instance, the use of the goal post portrays the Republican candidate as politicians who are cannot be trusted since they keep on changing the rules of the game. During his campaign in Texas, Obama alludes, “every time we meet their goals (Republican) they moved the goalposts.” They said we need to triple the border patrols, well now they are going to say we quadruple the border patrol” Texas being a crucial voting block for any presidential candidate to get into the oval office, Obama’s assertion serves to downplay Romney.

The arguments put forward by the former presidential speechwriters outlines the importance of humor and metaphor in the sense that the politicians exploit for them to be seen having a connection with the natives. Interestingly to note is that whenever Obama invokes Romney at a rally, the resultant effect is that of a smattering boo; and his standard response has always been don’t boo-vote, this response and the choice of words always brings laughter and applause that serve to influence the yet to decide voters. According to Lovett, the use of humor does serve as not only a connection with the audience, but also a way of figuring out on the best way to bust the culture of politics and media that makes conveying of substantive arguments so difficult.

On the other hand, Romney is never left behind in the use of humor in his campaign trail. He tries to connect with the Mississippi voters by telling them that he learned to use y’all probably from the natives. However, this did not go down well as some sections felt he was a humorless acrobat. Occasionally, during the campaigns his genuinely funny  could slip out as seen during his Michigan campaign: And here, he tells the audiencehis story and that of his parents. Romney said, “My dad is a very frugal man, and he checked all over where the best deal was for a gravesite” he wrapped up by saying that if you want the best deal for a gravesite, then you probably need to check on Brighton since they got a right spot. The essence of Romney using this humor was to applaud the audience and connect with them and feels what they feel.

Campaigns do benefit from more light moments; the campaign trail humor is almost as bad as the banter that goes on with presenters at award’s shows. The use of his parent’s gravesite by Romney brought out the human moment that endeared him with the audience as noted by the former Whitehouse speechwriter Landon Parvin who says “If you can make of yourself, it says that I am just like you.” Parvin goes ahead to say that the use of humor in politics cannot be overlooked since it is used in recent times to portray the opponent as one who is not connective with the voters. It is the art that every politician ought to master and deploy whenever he/she wants to outwit the opponent. A joke well shared with the audience serves as an anti-venom, and it tries to indicate to the voters that “we get each other.”

The analysis of the article Not Just for Laughs goes further to indicate that good humor should not be mixed up with the cropping use of insult and the cut. According to Parvin, both men, Obama and Romney are failing to seize the opportunity by failing to use proper and well-nurtured humor in some instances; and this is a drawback since they leave the indifferent voters undecided. However, Lovett weighs in on the significance of the cuts, according to him, the cuts can serve a better fight if the adequately used to make the voters laugh at what the opponent thinks about a particular issue. He says, “if you make someone laugh about what your opponent thinks, it means you have done a good job in highlighting what is wrong with their argument.” And this can taint the opponent negatively hence swaying the voters to your side.

Obama uses a metaphor by the use of alligators, this made his speech to be more effective in attacking his opponent in the Republican; the use of alligators was in connection with the immigration reforms, and he felt the Republicans were being unreasonable as they were trying to block any reform efforts by making stringent demands to secure the borders. Obama went ahead to ridicule the Republican laughably by claiming that soon they were going to request for alligators in a moat to defend the country from illegal aliens getting access.

In conclusion, therefore, the analysis of Ari Shapiro’s article, Not Just for Laughs, highlights the importance of incorporating humor during the Obama and Romney campaigns and its effectiveness as a campaign tool. The article outlines how it can work to gain political mirage as well as bust the opponent with the aim of advancing a political agenda. The analysis, therefore, is hand in hand with the thesis statement as it is in full support. The quotes highlighted by the presidential and former white house speechwriters justifies the claim that the exploitation of humor can give a presidential candidate an upper-hand in winning the skeptical voters.

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